by Joe Bucher, Career Counselor
In this day and age with jobs scarce and candidates plentiful we often talk about setting yourself apart from the pack. One of the things I am starting to hear more and more from employers is: Are students willing to relocate for a job?
This can be a complex topic as you could be leaving your home town, friends, family, and your comfort zone. You may want that hot internship or job, but how much do you want it? Are you willing to relocate or at least go somewhere else for a period of time?
I like to look at things from a risk versus reward perspective. For instance, is it worth it for you to take a great opportunity in another city or state if it could set you up for long-term growth? What are you risking and what do you have to gain?
I think that the best way to look at relocation is through a combination of factors including:
- The market
- Your life situation
- Your values
- Realizing that all things are temporary
#1 The market
The market is probably the most significant factor when looking at relocating.
If you are not able to find work or you find that the majority of the jobs you are interested in aren’t located near you, there are choices to consider. You might choose to broaden your search to extend beyond the area that you live in. For example, people who desire to work in the field of publishing may have to consider moving to a major east coast city like Boston or New York. In addition, many nurses are considering work outside of the bay area because there are more opportunities for work.
If you are considering moving to another location you should examine the cost of living for that area. For example, your rent and living expenses will highly differ depending on the location you move to. This can be surprising when you factor in the cost of rent, gas, and other living expenses.
Here are some great resources I found to help you examine costs:
#2 Your life situation
Your life situation can dictate if you are able to make a move.
As a student you may have concerns such as finishing your degree, finding a job/internship, and other stressors. However, after you leave school your concerns may change.
This is something you should discuss with your significant other, family, trusted friends, and others in your inner circle. Consider speaking to someone at the Career Center to process these thoughts.
#3 Values can help make decisions
Values are the core principles that help determine what you do, who you spend your time with, and how you think about the world.
I try to incorporate the exploration of values into my work with students as much as I can. Your knowledge of your values can assist with any job search, but you may want to think about them even more if you are contemplating relocation. If your values conflict with what you will be asked to do, it will present a significant challenge to your satisfaction and possibly your integrity.
If this is something you haven’t thought about, the following are two exercises I use:
#4 Everything is temporary
In the beginning of your career, it is important to remember that some experiences are temporary stepping stones that can lead to additional opportunities.
It is pretty common knowledge that you will work multiple careers throughout your lifetime. I have seen quotes that state that people will work anywhere from 5 to 9 careers in their lifetime. Therefore, if you relocate for 6 months or two years in the grand scheme of things how long is that really? This may very well be the stepping stone you need to get your career on track.
While moving away from your home town may be a tough decision, you do not have to make this decision alone. Think about some of the aspects that I have highlighted to get a head start on this subject.
Have you ever considered re-locating for work? Have you ever done it? Please let us know and add your tips to the comments section.
Joe Bucher, M.A.
Joe has been working in the field of career development since 2004. His areas of specialty include experiential education, resume building, job search, and social media. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development and a Master’s degree in Counselor Education both from San Jose State University.